Christmas Day Treats for Pets

Be firm to be kind this Christmas

It’s Christmas morning, the oven’s on and the smell of Christmas dinner has got everyone feeling hungry. Now imagine how your pet’s feeling with their heightened sense of smell!

While we all want to treat our pets at Christmas, when it comes to food, some common festive favourites can be seriously harmful for them. As tempting as it is to give in to pleading pets and include leftovers in their bowl, or even a full pet portion of Christmas dinner, this can actually put our pets in serious danger.

In order to avoid an emergency trip to the vet this Christmas, owners should resist the temptation to give human food to pets and offer them a healthy pet treat, a winter walk or a new toy instead.

PDSA Vet Nurse, Joanne Wright, said: “Our pets’ digestive systems can react badly to sudden diet changes, particularly if fatty foods, such as roast vegetables or pigs in blankets, are involved. Eating these foods can lead to very upset stomachs and, for owners, a Christmas Day spent cleaning up after them.”

Some festive foods even contain ingredients that are poisonous to our pets.

Joanne added: “Raisins, alcohol, some nuts and onions are a few of the ingredients that can potentially poison cats and dogs, causing severe illness. Foods containing these items, such as stuffing, gravy, mince pies, Christmas cake and Christmas pudding, should never be given to pets. If they do get their paws into them, get advice from your vet straight away even if it’s only small amounts.”

Some pets can help themselves to our festive treats by raiding the bin or sneaking into cupboards while your back is turned, so it’s important to keep festive food well out of your pet’s reach. Irresistible leftovers such as bones can also be a potential hazard for pets.

Joanne said: “Bones shouldn’t be given to pets as they can be a choking hazard or can splinter, causing internal damage. They can also get lodged in the stomach and intestines – a potentially fatal problem that often requires life-saving surgery. Even if these life-threatening problems are avoided, tiny fragments of bones can gather in the intestines causing constipation which, in the worst cases, can require surgery to remove.”

But, as well as posing an immediate risk to our pets’ health, the excess calories aren’t good for them either and can contribute to extending waistlines.

“When it comes to showing our furry friends how much we love them, ‘puppy dog eyes’ can seem irresistible. But just giving them some more fuss and attention is a far better way to show our love for our pets.”

PDSA is the UK’s leading vet charity. We’re on a mission to improve pet wellbeing through prevention, education and treatment. Support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery helps us reach even more pet owners with vital advice and information. www.pdsa.org.uk

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